Singapore and Thailand share close historical ties dating back to the 13th century when Singapore and Siam were important nodes for international trade. His Majesty King Chulalongkorn made his first overseas visit as King to Singapore in 1871, and His Majesty had wisely said: "As Thailand and Singapore are neighbours, it would be advantageous if our countries are friends with each other." Royal visits to Singapore continued under the reigns of His Majesty King Vajiravudh and His Majesty King Prajadhipok. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit continued this strong friendship and visited Singapore in 1950, 1951 and 1962.
Over the years, Singapore and Thailand have built strong ties based on shared interests. Singapore and Thailand enjoy a warm and multi-faceted bilateral relationship. The close bilateral ties are reflected in exchanges at the highest political level, good cooperation among a wide range of agencies, and a high volume of people-to-people exchanges. Both countries cooperate closely bilaterally, as well as within ASEAN and in international fora. Economic links between Singapore and Thailand are strong. Singapore was the 2nd-largest foreign investor in Thailand in 2011. Defence ties are also robust, and form another key pillar of the bilateral relationship.
The Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Partnership (STEP), which was launched in 1997, provides the framework for the long-term strategic partnership between both countries. STEP comprises four pillars: enhanced economic co-operation, strong defence relations, people-to-people co-operation and the Civil Service Exchange Programme (CSEP). Under the CSEP, which comprises 13 cooperation clusters, both countries organise regular study visits and training programmes.
There is extensive technical cooperation between Singapore and Thailand, including under the Singapore Cooperation Programme. In addition, under the Singapore-Thailand Third Country Training Programme (TCTP), both countries have jointly provided technical assistance to various countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Timor Leste. The TCTP is Singapore's first formalised partnership with a fellow ASEAN country.